The McKinney Fire Department (MFD) warns of the risk of freezing pipes in fire protection sprinkler systems, as we get another cold snap. As temperatures drop, chances increase that your fire sprinkler system could experience a freeze-induced failure. Water expands when it freezes and can cause a rupture of a sprinkler pipe fitting or the activation of a sprinkler head. The resulting water damage can be costly.

“It’s easy to forget about wet pipe sprinkler systems in North Texas since we don’t frequently experience extreme cold, but it is a real risk if you don’t take the time to maintain your system,” said Chad Nester, Graduate Fire Protection Engineer. “Pay special attention to the north and west sides of your building as these are the sides that typically experience the strongest wind gusts and coldest temperatures.”

Follow these simple instructions provided by MFD to prevent water damage, expensive repair costs and inadequate fire protection as the weather begins to turn.

  • A thorough inspection is the first step to preventing sprinkler freeze-ups.
  • Keep cold air out. Be on the lookout for areas in your building that could let cold air in and increase your risk of freezing pipes. Broken windows, thin insulation, cracked walls, and exposed roof areas are a few examples.
  • Be sure to keep windows and doors closed when not in use for entering and exiting your building.
  • Riser rooms and all other areas with sprinkler piping, are required to have a space or unit heater to prevent freezing. Inspect heaters to ensure proper working order and maintain a least 40 degrees at all times. All water-control valves should remain open.
  • Ensure all low-point and auxiliary drains have been drained and there is no residual water in areas subject to freezing.

If something does go wrong, contact a repair specialist. It is essential to act fast if a problem occurs with your sprinkler system to prevent significant damage to your facility. Proactive thinking will cut down on costly damage as well as repairs, and it will help keep tenants and property safe all winter long.

For additional information on fire prevention, visit www.mckinneyfire.org or call 972-547-2850.